Y: For a long time, the story went that bread-making arose with the advent of agriculture during the Neolithic era, possibly around 9,500 years ago in Anatolia, Turkey.
D: But scientists have known for some time that the equipment for making bread, like grinding stones for pulverizing grain, had existed for thousands of years prior.
Y: In 2018, when scientists discovered evidence of bread-making in the Black Desert of Northeast Jordan that dated back 14,400 years, they updated the story.
D: Archaeological excavations at the site called Shubayqa 1 show that the Natufian people of the time used 95 different types of plants in their fireplace cooking. The Natufians gathered these ingredients from the surrounding area.
Y: Painstaking analysis using a scanning electron microscope shows that the Jordanian bread included high-quality flours from wild cereals like barley, einkorn, and oats.
D: Being cooked over open fire, the bread probably resembled a multi-grain cracker similar to matzah bread used in the Jewish feast of Passover. The uncovered remains don’t contain yeast; it’s uncertain whether these cooks had access to it. The Natufians also put tubers from water plants called club-rushes into their breads.
Y: We typically think that hunter gatherers’ diets focused on meat and seafood. The discoveries in the Black Desert confirm that plant-based diets are very old and important to human development.D: Baked foods have a higher glycemic index than raw food, and this discovery shows that the hunter gatherers innovated on ways to increase the calorie-count in their foods through baking. They reaped more energy from their diets, and may have helped drive the agricultural revolution.